NYC Homeless Clusters, Hotels Filled With Broken Toilets, Lead Paint, Mouse Poop, Report Finds

As of November 2016, 62,840 people were homeless in New York City, including 24,251 children, according to Coalition for the Homeless

What to Know

  • 78 percent of hotels used to house the homeless have 433 open violations, a new investigative report reveals
  • Manhattan is the worst borough for hotel infractions, accounting for roughly 69% of all citywide violations
  • As of November 2016, about 65,000 people are living homeless in New York City, according to Coaltion for the Homeless

Hundreds of the city's homeless are living in deplorable conditions that include peeling lead paint, malfunctioning toilets and mouse droppings, an investigative report by the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) revealed Thursday.

Dirty walls, charred stovetops, bent and rusted latches on cabinets and refrigerators, moldy ceilings, and smoke detectors haphazardly covered in plastic bags are just a few of the unliveable conditions homeless families are forced to deal with daily.

Of the 41 cluster sites analyzed, 38 of them racked up a total of 2,577 violations, the report revealed. The worst cluster site, located at 1055 University Ave. in the Bronx, has a total of 185 outstanding violations, including rodent and roach infestations, mold and broken smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The report also analyzed 63 hotels for the homeless, where IDC found 433 open violations, an average of nearly nine violations per site. The worst violator, Dawn Hotel of NY, has 78 outstanding violations. The top 10 worst hotel sites accounted for nearly 69% of total infractions.

Cluster site violations outnumber those of hotels by a whopping six times, despite there being fewer hotels. 

Manhattan was the borough with the highest number of infractions with 263, and over 20 violations per hotel.

However, the Bronx has the worst cluster site problem, with six of the worst 10 sites citywide. The borough accounts for nearly half, 46 percent, of all cluster violations uncovered by the IDC, with an average of 118 infractions per site.

New Yorkers were reminded of the dangerous conditions of these run-down sites when two sisters, ages 1 and 2, died after a radiator bursted in their apartment and scalded them with steam in December 2016.

At at time where homelessness in New York City has exceeded levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s, state senators are calling for a legislative solution to the city's homeless problem.

"It is unconscionable to allow children and families to be forced to live in these violation-ridden hotels and cluster sites," said Democratic Senator Diane Savino, who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn. "These sites lack the basic services that homeless families should have access to and make living a normal life difficult, if not impossible."

Department of Homeless Services spokesman Isaac McGinn said the city has amended thousands of violations and allocated millions to improving shelter conditions.

"Since 2016, we have close more than 10,000 violations and allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to make major renovations improving shelter conditions," he said. "We have also stopped using nearly 600 cluster units and continue our aggressive enforcement efforts against the worst violators, taking legal action and working with partner agencies to ensure these landlords follow through."

McGinn added there's been an 83 percent reduction in non-cluster shelters.

The IDC plans to enact a $488.6 million anti-homelessness program in 2017. The federally and state funded program will supplement rent payments for families and individuals facing eviction, are currently homeless, or who have lost housing due to hazardous conditions or domestic violence.

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